Thursday, March 27, 2008


This is a strange fruit. It is extremely sour but is a great addition to chilli dishes. The title link should lead you to the Wikipedia page that describes this fruit. Its scientific name is Averrhoa bilimbi. I had always called it buah bling bling but when I googled it, I found something else instead. The fruit is usually referred to as belimbing or blimbling. The seminary has a medium sized tree at one of the back entrances of the kitchen. The picture shows the fruit from this particular tree.

It was only recently that I was told that the fruit is related to the Starfruit. Then, as I looked at the leaves and the way the tree branches, I saw the resemblance. This happens with people to. We seldom link people together in a family unless they are really alike in appearance or manner. Most of the time, we don't see a familial connection until someone mentions it.

As Catholics, we belong to one family. In fact, at Easter this year, many parishes celebrated baptism of adults. It is the celebration of the “birth” of members of our Catholic family. Usually, people tend to look for the “eyes of the father”, or the “smile of the mother” in the newborn baby. If not the eyes or smile, then the chin or forehead, etc. Usually we find them. We will say things like, “He looks like his father; he has his ears” or we say “She looks like her mother; see the way she pouts!” When we look at newly baptised adults, we usually see how zealous they are. They may not have Catholic ‘habits’ yet but we can see that they are eager to immerse themselves into the faith. Isn't that much like young children who are ever willing to learn about their environment and surroundings?

I was baptised when I was fourteen. You could say that I was like a premature baby. I remember how I plunged into Catholic activity through the encouragement of Fr. Louis Loiseau, MEP, who had instructed and baptised my whole family. I was an organist in Church and a junior Legion of Mary member.

What I fear is that I am not showing my resemblance to Jesus my brother. This is especially important for a priest. Of course, I could wear the clerical collar or the cassock to show my identity. However, if no one can really recognise me as a member of Christ's family, no external clothing would magically tell others that I am. The clerical collar should remind me of who I am and allow that awareness to stay with me. I think the clerical dress should serve to be a sign for me, than for others. Obviously, the cassock will immediately be a sign for others that I am a priest. It should be, for me, a sign that I am to serve others. It should never be a sign to parade the authority that comes with being a priest.

Like the belimbing which enhances spicy dishes, I become more effective when I am part of a community. On its own, the belimbing is very sour and difficult to consume. A priest who emphasises his authority, setting himself apart from the community, puts himself in a very difficult situation.

I pray that the Lord will give me the grace to be a priest that supports and enhances the work and mission of all Catholics. I pray that I will depend less and less on my given authority to move my brothers and sisters but will depend more and more on God and Christ, the source of love and grace. Amen

1 comment:

Terence said...

Great post, thought you were going to do an Andrew Kooi and post about the Bling Bling. Nice link to your reflection. Would have been nice to have posted it on the Kg Punggol blog, since the tree is on the seminary grounds.